The following is excerpted from the romantic comedy NOBODY’S FOOL by Barbara Meyers, released 1/6/15 from Samhain Publishing —
“What the hell is wrong with you?” he asked himself. “She’ll screw with your head and then walk away, just like in high school.” His reflection didn’t seem to have any answers. “Dumbass.” Not the best parting shot, but he couldn’t think of anything more appropriate to describe his behavior tonight. He turned off the light and climbed into bed.
He lay on his back and stared at the ceiling in his old room and thought about Jolie. How many nights had he done this during high school? Wondered what she was up to? Who she was with? How many times had she toyed with him, drawing him close before friend-zoning him again? Too many to count.
He pitied the boy he’d once been and how easily he’d been manipulated. All it took was a smile or a pout from Jolie. The smiles were usually part of a con to get help with her homework. The pouts were caused by any perceived mistreatment at the hands of one of her cheerleader friends or her latest boyfriend.
He’d always been there for her, like a loyal dog who didn’t know any better. He’d eagerly accept the morsels of affection she offered, only to find himself locked out of her life. Until the next time, when he’d run back just as eagerly, just as hopeful that this time she’d finally get it. She’d finally see that he was the one who understood her. That she could always count on him.
But she never did see. She never got it. He’d slink home licking his wounds time and time again. But the hope never completely died until the day he’d given her that locket. He’d watched her drive off with Chip without a backward glance. Then he finally got it.
Jolie was never going to love him back. She’d used him and he’d allowed it, but no more.
He’d sworn he’d never let it happen again. He wouldn’t be hurt by her any more.
Great job, asshole, he thought now. That went well.
Tonight had been a perfect example of how easily she could wind him up. And make no mistake, she was setting him up for a big fall.
She’d been putting on that “I’ve changed” sincerity act ever since she’d arrived back in Oak Ridge. Court wasn’t falling for it. She knew how to act. No matter how much he might want to believe she was sincere, he knew better. He knew how she operated.
He wondered why she wore that locket all the time. He’d noticed it the night he’d picked her up for the reunion cocktail party. He was almost certain it was the one he’d given her, but he could be wrong. He sure wasn’t going to embarrass himself by asking.
He turned over and punched a fist into his pillow before laying his head down. She wasn’t going to get to him this time.
Tonight he’d gone out of his way to keep things friendly. He was a red-blooded American male, but he’d worked hard to disguise his carnal attraction to her.
She’d made the first move. She’d been the aggressor. It had surprised the hell out of him. In a way it pissed him off. What was so great about him now? He was the same Court he’d been ten years ago. Almost. He’d changed on the outside, that was all.
That’s what Jolie was attracted to. What she’d always been attracted to. The exterior. The superficial.
Court flipped over to his other side and punched his pillow again. An overnight stay at the lake would be the perfect opportunity to implement the next phase of his plan to get over her. She wasn’t going to get to him again. No way. No how.
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